Lifestyle

Friday 25 July 2014

Like Dracula, this green-isled girl melts in sun

Lay of the Land

Some Like It Hot, according to the sizzling Marilyn Monroe, but this Paddy Pale Face is not one of them. I enjoy warmth, but my favourite weather is crisp and cold with blue skies and sunshine. I even relish the rain.

Maybe it's because I've experienced the alternatives. I once visited Jamaica during tornado season, when you run the risk of literally getting swept off your feet.

On the up side, accommodation is cheap. But the humidity and heat there are horrendous once you step off the beach.

So travel can be good for reminding you that "there's no place like home", as Dorothy discovered in The Wizard of Oz. That's unless home becomes overheated.

Temporarily carless, I went grocery shopping in the heatwave last week and ended up having a meltdown. 'The Wicked Witch of the East' dissolved into a pool of green, whereas this green-isled girl became a blob of boiled beetroot.

It probably helps if you're born into balmy weather, like the wondrous women of India. I frantically fanned myself in the sweltering taxi from Delhi airport, while through the window I watched impossibly elegant ladies riding side saddle on the back of mopeds, sans helmets, looking effortlessly immaculate in brightly coloured saris and swirling veils.

Even the lowest-caste women toiling on construction sites in the midday heat are always beautifully attired and wear all the jewellery they possess, sweat-free and sanguine as they balance concrete blocks almost as big as themselves upon their heads.

I never really acclimatised during my two months there, permanently appearing red as a lobster.

It must have been the freak factor that led several Indian families to approach me at the appropriately named Red Fort in Delhi, a popular tourist destination for foreign and native tourists alike, to ask if they could they take a photograph with me. So there are photo albums scattered throughout this sweltering subcontinent containing snapshots of this great white, or rather pink-faced Paddy elephant, standing in the midst of non-puce natives.

It's no wonder I followed in the footsteps of the former British colonialists who retreated to the cooler hill stations. Here you find relief from the heat, amid the surreal sight of monkeys prancing around English churches and houses.

But Indians are not afraid to think outside the box, or work outside the building, when it gets too hot even for them. I happened upon an outdoor office of turbaned Sikhs working in the shade of tropical trees, using old-fashioned typewriters to overcome the lack of extension leads for their computers.

This Irish country town is short on big-leaved banana bushes, so I stay indoors during extra hot days, or else scuttle from shadow to shadow if necessity drives me out. Dracula couldn't outdo my efforts to avoid exposure to the roasting rays.

That's why this lady is a vamp.

Irish Independent

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